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FAQs about Seahorse & Pipefish Selection

Related Articles: Seahorses & their Relatives, Fresh to Brackish Water PipefishesSeahorse Care Guide

Related FAQs: Seahorses & their Relatives 1, Seahorses & their Relatives 2, Seahorse Identification, Seahorse Behavior, Seahorse Compatibility, Seahorse Systems, Seahorse Feeding, Seahorse DiseaseSeahorse Reproduction,

There's a size seahorse for every system! Here's a quarter inch Hippocampus bargibanti.

Seahorse; source, stkg.       3/22/15
hey bob,
I currently have 5 seahorses from seahorsesource.com. All captive bred, and doing well for over a year.
I wish to add some more, from a wholesaler, which would be wild caught. I understand they most likely have some form of parasite, unlike my captive ones (supposedly disease free).
<I would not do this>

Can I get a pair of wild ones from the keys, and quarantine for a long period, (at least 12 weeks) with Cupramine and Prazi, and then move them  in with my captive bred ones?
<You could>
Or is it nearly impossible to make them as "clean" as my captive bred ones?
It seems to be a hot button, gray area topic, however, I can imagine at some point even the cleanest captive bred program has to bring in wild caught ones to expand blood lines.
Thank you
<I know the folks where the ones you have came from; and have visited w/ others (esp. Ocean Rider in Kona)... I would NOT mix. Bob Fenner>
Re: Seahorse      3/22/15

Good enough for me. I suppose I can just set up another seahorse tank and never mix them.
<Ah, good>
Moral to the story, no matter what Meds are preventatives are used, never place captive bred specimens in with treated wild caught a.
<Not always; or not as much with this Order of fishes>
I will not mix them, however out of curiosity, what foreign parasites may not be killed via extensive quarantine?
<.... please.... as all too often I have urged you.... SEE WWM Re. >

Biocube 29. Seahorses or Angler? Sel./stkg.    5/18/11
Hello crew,
After much debate on whether to sell my 29G Biocube and "invest" the $$$ back into my 75G reef or to keep the 29 and set it back up, it appears setting it back up is the conclusion!
Since I already have a 75G mixed reef, I would like to do something "different" with this tank.
Obviously being only 29G, I realize my options are very limited. After hours of research when I should have been working, I believe I have decided to either set it up as a seahorse tank, or as an angler tank.
<Mmm, either group... just small/er species>
I will be setting this tank up essentially from the ground up, so I want to ensure I do this as safe and "risk free" as you can in the marine world. I plan to purchase all new live sand and ~30lbs of live rock and seed it with some rubble and sand in addition from my reef tank, and of course cycle it completely. So given the two choices, here are some questions that I have.
1. Given the choice between a seahorse tank with two Firefish, a clown goby, and a few corals....xenia, Zoas, maybe Shrooms...vs. the angler as a FOWLR or few soft corals, which do you consider the "easier"?
<Mmm, the Angler... though not nearly as exciting as the former...!>
2. Would a pair of H. erectus seahorses be the best/hardiest choice? If not what would you recommend?
<Tank bred would be fine here... though again, smaller tropical species also tank bred would be better, e.g. H. reidi>
3. What would be the best plant choice for the recommended horses to "anchor" to and keep given the Biocube PC lighting and size?
<Plastic really... or a gorgonian skeleton>
4. If I go the angler route, are there any other suitable tankmates?
<Mmm, yes. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/anglercompfaqs.htm
again, depends on the species of Angler...>
I'd like to have one other "swimmer" but completely understand the size requirements and appetite for same size fish the angler has.
5. How long can anglers live in a tank this size (or any size) given good water conditions since seahorses are typically a few years at best?
<About the same likely>
Thanks in advance for you always honest and well respected opinions and help!
<A pleasure. Bob Fenner>

Sea Horse, sys., sel.  -- 03/20/10
Hey crew I would like to thank you for the help in the past! I was thinking about getting my mom a Sea Horse for her 12 gal Nano,
<Mmm, most species are better in pairs and more. Do look for a moderate sized species for this small volume here>
it would be the only animal in the tank, I have done some research and everything I have read gives me different min tank size, have you had any personal experience?
<Oh yes>
I would be shopping for one that was tank raised and eating frozen foods,
<Good plan!>
Thank you again!!
<Welcome! Oh, and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seahorsselfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sea Horse   3/21/10
Thanks for your reply and all the information! Will send a update soon!!!
<Thank you, BobF>

Help. What's better: Erectus or Kelloggi? Seahorse sel.  -- 01/30/10
I am going to buy seahorses. My 75 gal tank has been set up for 3 years in anticipation of seahorses. I've only purchased seahorse friendly fish, plants, dusters --etc.
I need your help to decide which species to get. I will get 4 to 6 horses.
I am leaning toward 'tank-raised Hippocampus kelloggi'
-- but wonder if they'd get too big for my tank.
<Maybe in time>
The other I am considering is 'tank-raised Hippocampus erectus'
- I've read they are susceptible to a variety of diseases, parasites, and pathogens. (Kelloggi might also be, but I've found little info on them)
<These both are... but this should not be an issue with tank-bred/reared stock. I am a much bigger fan of the more common (and hardier) H. erectus for captive use. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Nancy Nelson

Seahorse. Sourcing, 'Nam   1/8/10
Dear sirs,
<And madams>
First of all this is a fantastic site ! Congratulations of tons of info here.
<Welcome Antonio>
We are a marine ornamental aquaculture station located in Portugal and are currently working with some Hippocampus reidi to supply the market here.
Also we have read about some Vietnam seahorse farming and become interest in acquiring other species there to have a great variety to offer to distributors.
<Mmmm, my little experience with Vietnam suppliers of Seahorses (and Giant Clams) has proven negative. I urge caution here... folks in the trade have reported high rates of incidental mortality and disease issues>
Do you know any companies and contacts that can help us in making the connection with these farms ?
<Unfortunately I do not>
We have all the importers and strict EU requisitions, and understand fully the need of serious e-mails so no worries for us to send to you our credentials if needed.
<Ahh! I understand, and agree>
Also we are looking for Cultured Algae and clams /Tridacna if you know currently places selling these.
Best regards,
<Best to refer you to our scant coverage here:
the fifth tray down... the linked files on "Livestock". Bob Fenner>
Lusoreef, Marine ornamental species Lda

Re: Zulu - lulu Seahorses, sys. fdg., sel.     7/15/07 Dear Bob, Thank you for responding to my email quickly. I just came up with another question or two. 1) What did you mean when you said this? "I would keep the spg constant as is practical and NSW strength... likely 1.026 with a floating type hydrometer at this temp". I realize that I may not get a correct reading if I have the hydrometer with the swinging pin because of the temperature, is that what you were partly getting at? I just don't understand the bolded portion. <Mmm doesn't show up as such on our webmail... Likely the area you're referring to is related to the calibration of such devices. My point is I would NOT keep your spg artificially low, but akin to Natural Seawater strength... which on these hydrometers reads about 1.026... and that such readings do vary by temperature, but that this reading is about where you want to be at this part. temp> 2) I have read about getting rid of hydroids with Panacur. Could you guide me to a place on your site with this solution? Or anywhere else for that matter. <Mmm, do just try the Search Tool embedded on the site with these terms: Panacur Hydroid Control. There may be little...> 3) Can female seahorses get bubbles caught in their bodies as well, or is it just males with the brood pouch? <Much less common, but there are some similar complaint/symptoms... Please see OceanRider's archives. PeteG's input here> 4) Can a full grown Zulu eat Hawaiian red shrimp? <Mmm, I think these may prove to be too large. Mysids would be a better choice> I am thinking about getting my ponies from Ocean Rider, but they are real expensive...... all seahorses are. <Mmm, yes... a good deal of time, handling goes into these captive raised animals> My LFS didn't really know much about this species and it wasn't in the book they had of marine fish! <See fishbase.org... there are tens of thousands of species likely not in "their book"> I am thinking I will have to buy them from Ocean Rider despite the expensive price, but I hear that seahorses from Ocean Rider are of really good quality and that they will always eat frozen food. A big plus in my book!! <Ah, yes> Thank you very much Bob. <Welcome! BobF>

Hippocampus capensis aka Zulu Lulu Seahorses - 07/30/07 Bob did a great job with your query. There are just a couple of things I would like to add and reinforce. 10g is to small for all the usual reasons small tanks are not recommended as well as I believe they need more space. 20 would be good and 30 even better. They seem to be bottom dwellers and love to cruise around along the substrate and IMO a bigger footprint would be better for them. Since they do spend so much time on the substrate a softer finer sandy substrate would be best for them….anything rough or sharp is a potential risk for cuts and scratches that could get infected, because they actually drag their tails and bellies on the substrate. The information about capensis doing well at higher temps and showing prettier colors is very dated information. The pretty colors are not worth the risk of their health IMO. Please do not attempt to keep them at 77 to 78 degrees. This is a certain death sentence for them. They are adorable little creatures no matter what color they display. They do not do well at warmer temps it will more than shorten their life span. Everyone I know of including myself who attempted this quite a while ago lost their capensis to tail infections and as a matter of fact some of those people were able to "cure" them for a while by lowering the temps. They are indeed a temperate species and most definitely need a chiller. They should be kept in the 66 to 69 degree range. I would not even attempt 72, which is the upper end of the documented range for them. I hope this helps. Leslie>

Re: Hippocampus capensis aka Zulu Lulu Seahorses... sel., hlth. - 07/30/07 <Hi there, I apologize for not checking my mail box and answering this in a timely fashion. I do have a little additional info to add to Bob's response to your query. You can find info on the use of Pancur for treating hydroids on the www.oceanrider.com web site. As for capensis being able to eat the Hawaiian red feeder shrimp, you would be surprised they can. They are actually quite determined little eaters. If their food is to big to go down in one snick they will keep snicking until it is gone. I have seen them tackle some good sized mysis. Yes female seahorses can get subcutaneous and generalized gas bubble disease. They however do not seem to be as prone to it as the males are, in my experience. Hope this helps. Leslie>

Hi Crew, Sump + Seahorse question  7/10/07 Thanks for your support, it's difficult out here! <Hello Asher> Ending my month long cycle of a LR & sand in a 55gl , I am also adding my SUMP with protein skimmer, filter sock. <These steps should be done first. The protein skimmer is an excellent device to help raise oxygen levels and remove dissolved organics from the water column> I would really like to have a Seahorse tank, I like the fact they are tank bred and peaceful. wondering if there is any preference to the type of SUMP setup in regards to the seahorses quality of life: Miracle mud? plants? LR? DSB? Berlin? Shrimp? <Lots to talk about here. Let me try to address them one at a time. Seahorses...There are several species, however a H. kuda would probably do best for you. Seahorses should have tall tanks to breed in but can be housed in shallower tanks for viewing. Seahorses also require frequent feedings and do best being isolated from other species. I personally would set up a 30 gallon tank next to your 55gallon tank and plumb the 30g and 55g to the same sump. You could Tee of from one pump or use 2 Hagen 70 powerheads for flow or the type submersible return pump. Keeping seahorses separately in the 30g would be much better than keeping them in the sump. This set up would afford you up to 80-90gallons of systems water which would be an added benefit. The sump design is limited by it's size. A larger sump can have more equipment, combined fuge, etc. however a smaller sump may not be possible to combine equipment and refugium. For the sake of conversation will assume a 3 foot long sump. If you have the skimmer mounted in the first chamber of the sump then you can use the rest say 20 inches) of the sump's length for a refugium. (external pump assumed, shorter second chamber if pump is submersible type). You can then add a DSB (Deep Sand Bed) here with some Chaetomorpha Caulerpa and some cerith snails. This would handle the Mud/plants/DSB question. Macro algae in the main tank can prove difficult to remove later if you choose to ever do so. For that reason it is best grown in the refugium area of a sump. The Berlin system would be a system that uses no substrates, a large protein skimmer, and lots of live rock. Many people now use anywhere from 1 inch of sand (not crushed coral) to several inches of sand as a substrate, protein skimmer, and live rock. I would also recommend this approach rather than a traditional "Berlin" set-up. Shrimp, hermit crabs, and other invertebrates should do well in this setup.> Thanks in advance, I just want to create the best biosphere for them... <your welcome, Rich aka Mr. Firemouth> Asher <here is some more reading... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm>

Stocking Density for Dwarf Seahorses 2-16-07 Hi Guys, <Good morning! You actually have one of the gals here, Leslie at your service this morning.> I have a question regarding dwarf seahorse. I have six saltwater tanks. <Wow, you must be pretty busy.> Four of which are seahorse tanks.   <They are my favorite sea creatures!> The smallest is 2 gallons. The largest is 110 gallon. I have just about every seahorse that I can get. My question is.. I have dwarf seahorses in my 2 gallon set up and they are over populating this set up. There are now 51 seahorses in there plus 2 tiny hermit crabs. They keep having babies. <Yes, they certainly do. You are obviously doing a great job with them.> The youngest babies are 2 weeks old now.<Congratulations!> I was going to get a six gallon nano cube for these guys and gals. Would this be an appropriate size for these little guys. <I think you should go a little bigger.> I feel a 12 g would be to big for them. <Actually 12 g would be a perfect size if they were at zero population growth. Since you are doing so well with them it would be safe to assume that they will continue to reproduce so you should probably go a little bigger, perhaps a 15g for a while. > I still might need to get the 12 g in a years or so. How many pairs per gallon for these little guys? <2 pairs or 4 individuals per gallon is usually recommended which is a conservative stocking density.> I bought 4 pairs 2 years ago, and now there are 51 seahorses. <They are quite prolific little creatures, aren't they? Their life span in captivity is about 2 to 3 years, so you may be seeing some losses due to old age soon with your population stabilizing a bit. > Will a nano cube have good water circulation for them? It will not be to much for them, or will it? <It most likely will be, unless you can control the flow.> I currently have a sponge filter in with them now, plus a small piece of live rock (1/2 #) and plants. Would I be better off with a regular 5 g aquarium and my sponge filter? A sponge filter will be just fine but as mentioned above you need more than a 5 gallon for that size herd.> I think I have done GREAT with this small 2 gallon. <Yes, you certainly have. > I heard it is much harder to keep a smaller tank. <Yes, it most definitely is. Larger tanks are much more stable.> I have 9 years experience in saltwater and about 7 of those years were devoted to seahorses! Sounds like you are doing a great job.> If you have not already seen it you might want to consider having a look at Alisa Abbots book The Complete Guide to Dwarf Seahorses in the Aquarium. It is available at Amazon.com> Please HELP! <I hope I have, Leslie.>

Seahorse - H. kuda. Wholesale from Vietnam    12/9/06 Dear Bob, <Trung> I am from Vietnam, who has own breeder seahorse farm in Vietnam. I can supply for 5-7 thousand heads per week. My seahorse has CITES Permit approval. If you know somebody are looking for it to forward me please. <I have heard that the syngnathids from your area are subject to having high parasite loads and concomitant large incidental mortality...> Kind Regards, Trung Tel/Fax: +84 58 836 335 Mobile: +84 913 471 795 Email: vthatrung@dng.vnn.vn Website: www.liveseahorse.com.vn < http://www.liveseahorse.com.vn/> <Will post your contact info. on our site. Bob Fenner>

Seahorse Sel., Systems   8/2/06 Hello <Hi Alex> I am from Wisconsin and I have had a saltwater aquarium for about a year and a half. I have gotten my fish through Drs. Foster and Smith in Rhinelander. My question is about seahorses I have been looking into getting them for about three years. I was just wondering what you thought about dwarf seahorses for a person that is just starting with them or even which seahorse would be the best. <Well, I personally think that Dwarf seahorses are more difficult for a few reasons. They require a smaller tank, which is more difficult in terms of maintaining a stable environment. They require two daily feedings of live food which one needs to culture, namely newly hatched  brine shrimp. Last but not least they are highly susceptible to hydroids. All in my opinion making them more difficult to keep.  Aquacultured erectus are a large species that make a very nice beginner seahorse. They are a hearty and healthy species, available from Ocean Rider under the trade names of Mustang and Sunburst.> I have a thirty gallon aquarium that is sitting empty because my tank got a disease that killed all the fish but my inverts survived. <So sorry to hear that. Dwarf seahorses are not really suited to a 30 gallon. In my opinion you would be better off with one of the larger species, like erectus.> I have a few questions that have had contradictory answers. Like what substrate do I need? <I like fine sand.> How many seahorses can be housed per gallon? <Depends on the species, but if you go with erectus in your 30 gallon I would say 2 pairs to start off.> What plants are best? <Caulerpa. There are many beautiful varieties.> Is it safe to have multiple pairs in an aquarium? Sure depending on the species and size of the tank.> Which dealer is best and yet affordable? There are quite a few. I personally like Ocean Rider www.oceanrider.com.> I found a site in TFH (tropical Fish Hobbyist) it is www.seahorsefarms.com. One source said that you should have a tank no bigger that 10 gallons for Dwarf seahorses? (I know that the water parameters are harder to stabilize in small aquariums and it did not make sense to me), <Well, for starters they are really tiny. I will never forget the first time I saw them. I was shocked.  It's hard to imagine until you actually see them. They are all of 1.75 inches max and half of that is their tail. They would be lost in your 30g unless you planned to keep a very large heard. Smaller tanks are recommended for dwarf seahorses because of their size, their need for live food and their activity level. They can be fairly sedentary. They tend to sit and wait for food to pass by rather than swim after it, so in order for the food to be concentrated so that they can eat efficiently they need smaller quarters. Food density in a larger tank is hard to maintain without sacrificing water quality.> I just do not know which source to follow that is why I have waited so long to even think about getting seahorses. <Check out www.syngnathid.org and www.oceanrider.com. Both sites will supply you with all the information you need to make an appropriate choice. If you are definitely interested in dwarf seahorses please do look at Alisa Abbott's guidebook called The Complete Guide to Dwarf Seahorses.> I would greatly appreciate your help even if you give me more sites to look at!! Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back. Sincerely, Alex <Your most welcome, hope this was helpful, Leslie> <P.S. In the future would you be so kind as to capitalize your "I's  and the first words in your sentences. It makes for easier reading for all and saves editing time which could be used to answer additional queries. Thanks.>  

Seahorse lethargy/disease question... Over-mis-stocked tiny marine tank... with real (iatrogenic) troubles  - 5/19/2006 WWM Crew- <Shovon> You guys have given me more information over the past year than both of my LFS's, and every other website I've ever read, combined. I just wanted to extend my gratitude for all of your help and valuable info. I'd like to also thank you ahead of time for helping me out with something I'm currently unable to figure out, or find anywhere on your site or other sites. <Okay> I have a pair of yellow Hippocampus kuda's and housed them in a 6 gal tank - with plenty of feather and grape Caulerpa, some stray xenia, and branched LR - drilled to my sump (already attached to another system). They've been fine for a month, eating several SW grass shrimp per day (at times loaded with Cyclop-Eeze, etc). Their only tankmates are two tiny hermits (red and blue legged), a Nassarius snail, and a small mandarin goby. <Hard to keep this last in such a small system... mainly starvation issues> I'm currently attempting to convert the horses to frozen mysis, but it doesn't seem to be working yet. <Takes a while at times...> My problem is that the male has become extremely lethargic, mainly hanging out in one corner of the tank and only moving occasionally. <... have just gotten off the phone with Carol... Cozzi-Schmarr, of Ocean Rider... the company out here in HI that produces seahorses for the ornamental trade... What you have is likely the "cheap" Vietnamese wild-collected kudas... these very often have troubles> He responds to new grass shrimp dropped into the tank, and nips at them if they're nearby - but no longer chases them. He hasn't eaten in 4-5 days, but the female comes by and eats all of the shrimp I put in every day. He appears emaciated (obviously due to the lack of eating), and his face and tail remain a dark color during the day - when both horses usually turn yellow. Ammonia (.25-.5) <... needs to be zero> Nitrates (0) Nitrites (0) pH (8.1) Salinity (1.024) Temp (78.5) Ammonia has always been 0, but recently due to the fact that I have been feeding these two a lot, it has increased. I've been doing 10% water changes biweekly for 2 weeks now hoping to 'clean up' the water, <How to put this... a small system is hard to stabilize, keep stable... the animals suffer as a consequence... not subsequence... "Con"> and will continue to do larger changes over the next few weeks. I added pH buffer to increase it to 8.3-8.4 this morning. <In/with the change water only....> The temp is a little higher than usual because I had a clown goby die of Ich. <...?!> recently and wanted to speed up the life cycle of the parasite and have my UV sterilizer kill the tomates. <... Tomites> *The one strange thing I notice about the seahorse display tank is if I open the top, It smells a little funny - <Another bad sign... but good that you are observant> unlike my sump or main tank, there is a bit of a metal stink. I haven't found any metal or rust anywhere in my tank so I don't know where this smell could be coming from. As far as the different diseases I've been able to research on seahorses: 1. The male hasn't been scratching, so I don't believe it is an external parasitic problem. <Not always indicative...> 2. He's not bloated, and there are no apparent bubbles in him or on him. 3. I haven't noticed "white stringy poop" because he hasn't eaten, so I don't think it is an internal parasite. 4. He doesn't have white nodes sprinkled all over his body, as the goby did, so maybe not Ich. 5. And there is no rotting or flesh sloughing, so I don't think there is a bacterial infection. <... would take microscopic examination, maybe staining of samples, perhaps culture... to identify> The only thing I notice is that there are very small white flecks over his mid-section, but I can't really say that they aren't part of his coloration (I noticed he had black, white, and red 'freckles' all over him from when I got him, and they weren't node-like and never bothered him before). If it is Ich., wouldn't these grow into white clumps/nodes large enough to notice? <Mmm, not necessarily> I'm a microbio major, and learned a lot about Vibrio spp. recently, as well as other marine bacteria. <Can be real problems in captive aquatic systems for sure> I'm worried that there could be a Vibrio infection, but I don't even know how to diagnose for this. <You will> I've also read a lot of posts talking about how an antibiotic called Neo3 (with neomycin and triple sulfa) helps with that sort of problem. Can seahorses become infected from ingesting shrimp whose exoskeletons could possibly be infected with Vibrio vulnificus? <Mmm, possibly... there are a few other inputs here... environmental, genetic, developmental, nutritional...> One LFS informed me that some grass shrimp have worms inside of them that I may have not noticed. Could these have gotten into the seahorse's intestinal tract? <Again, possibly. Much more likely you're, or should I say your Horses are experiencing either flukes (trematodes) and/or a protozoan (Glugea et al...) infestation... from the wild, handling... expressing itself due to unsuitable environmental influences> Lastly, I had a scarlet hermit and an emerald crab die over the past week in my main tank due to unknown causes (not to mention the Ich-ed goby). I have 4 other hermits still alive and crawling around, a serpent star, a cleaner shrimp, a peppermint shrimp, and plenty of snails still alive. I also have a green bubble tip anemone and a firefish that seem healthy. These are all in my main tank. So there are plenty of vert's and invert's healthy and eating. <...> Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide as much information as I have been able to put together over the past week. I've been reading everything possible, and asking hundreds of questions to both of my LFSs, and have not found anything particularly helpful. I was told to add garlic to some grass shrimp and hope the kuda will eat them, but to avoid any dips for now. The other LFS said that if my water quality is fine and the horse's diet is fine, I have nothing to worry about - otherwise if he's dying, then he is probably going to die without much anyone can do about it. But I've not given up hope. Please help. -Shovon <Do take a read on the Ocean Rider (.com) site re Seahorse systems, disease. Bob Fenner>

Re: Seahorse lethargy/disease question  - 5/19/2006 It's Shovon again. Sorry about the second email. I wanted to mention that after the lights turned on a little while ago, I took a flashlight and examined the seahorse closely for an hour or so. The little specs look shiny to me when I put a flashlight up to the seahorse. The only thing that I can think of is that they may be tiny bubbles on the skin of the seahorse, possibly from bacteria or algae settling. I hope this might help, but I still don't know what course of action to take. From reading all of the other posts, I don't feel hopeless yet because there isn't an apparent rotting or hugely visible problem - which most of the time I've seen followed by "this late in the game its gone too far to do anything about it." <... I would take these animals "into class"... after reading re making skin/slime smears... use a bit of H and E stain... take a look-see... perhaps with a prof. or two looking over your shoulder> I know you all must be very busy, not to mention the number of emails I'm sure we all send to you guys every day. But I really would like to treat my seahorse with some kind of medical treatment as soon as possible if need be, and I believe the sooner the better if there should be any chance of revival. Please get back to me as soon as you can, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you again, Shovon. <I agree with your stated sentiment... Do consider increasing your chances of success with a better, larger system... quarantine... Bob Fenner> AHHS:  Digest Number 666.  Freshwater Seahorse.  - 03/25/2006 I am not completely certain, but I thought that Heiko Bleher was trying to track these down.  I don't know off-hand if he succeeded though. Hi Another interesting tidbit, The F/W Mekong seahorse was originally published as Hippocampus aimei, which is incorrect. The story goes a janitor was working one night and "corrected" Louis M. Roule paper for him on the way to the publisher.  It was corrected shortly later to Hippocampus arnei. Take care. Jim Forshey The Aquatic Book Shop Placerville, California

Oh to have a Seadragon - 11/20/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have been raising seahorses for about 6 years and am looking to find out where I can purchase a pair of Leafy Seadragons or any species of Seadragons. Thank you for your response, Bradley Boudreaux <Sorry Bradley, but so far as I know they are only available to public aquaria. They're illegal to collect for trade purposes. Perhaps as the hobby advances.... - Josh>  <<I used to work with the woman who first bred Weedy Seadragons, Kristy Forsgren, at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific (her Seadragon lab was close to the coral lab where I worked).  Marina>>

Seahorses....Stocking, Tank Size and Resolving Conflicting Info  9/17/05 Hello, Thanks in advance for your time and advice, and the library of info on your website. <Hi there and you're welcome, Leslie here with you today. Sorry for the delay in response. The seahorse questions are usually assigned to me and my computer has been out for repairs for a week. I have to say I feel quite handicapped without it.> I'm a beginner (not counting the freshwater tanks I had as a kid).  I've always wanted a marine tank but was afraid of the amount of time and care, in particular having to break the tank down and cleaning it every 6-12 months, as I was told back then.  Recently, I've discovered the advancement in technology has addressed such concerns drastically in the last decade or so, and now I think the amount of work is within my ability (knock on wood). So I've been reading up on seahorse care, and about beginner's tank setup guides.  I've read up all over WWM, seahorse.org, Oceanrider, and others. <Ah yes sounds like you are off to a great start.  Please do visit www.syngnathid.org as well> My problem now is the resulting confusion from what seems to me to be conflicting advice...  Any help is much appreciated. I was thinking about a Nano (24G) Cube, initially, but saw that you think they aren't so good for the beginner.  Unfortunate, because I like the look, but I was wondering about the flexibility in design, so I'm getting ready to shelve that idea. <I am a fan of the cube shape, esthetically, I am not so sure how functional it is. If you like the cube look there is a 60g cube available. Unfortunately I cannot remember the manufacturer. You could try a web search.> Books and websites (including WWM) recommend 40+ (55-75) for beginner's tanks for easier maintenance and control. <Yes, indeed a very good idea. Larger tanks make for a much more stable environment.> That's cool, but reading up on seahorse care, it seems a 55g tank would require stocking of 6 or 7 pairs !!?    <I am very familiar with those stocking guidelines as well as the articles. Those numbers would be considered high by some folks standards. There has been talk of revising the guidelines. I can tell you that since those articles were written there have been many more very successful keepers stocking much less densely.  It is just  fine to stock fewer horses. I have a 50 g that had 4 horses for quite a while and they did just fine. > I don't know if I can shell out that much all at once, financially, but more importantly, it seems to compound the risk of failure to have so many to take care of, when just getting used to caring for them and I kind of dread ordering 12 horses in one go from Oceanrider...seems like there's no way all of them would arrive at once alive...  maybe I'm wrong. <That would be quite an expense and there are many options available to you. You do not have to purchase all your horses at once and actually that would not be recommended. Ocean Rider however does an amazing job of packing and I am sure if someone was to order 12 horses to be shipped at once they would be just fine.  The horses would most likely be shipped 2 to a bag and in a few boxes.> Is doing all at once easier? <No, it's not easier or advised. Your tank should be stocked gradually, so that the bio filter has time to adjust to the current/original bio load and adapt as you add new stock. If I do it in stages, won't it be too empty/sparsely populated for the first-comers? <Well that depends…. 2 would definitely be sparse in a 55 gallon. I actually find that captive bred seahorses do much better when kept in groups of 3 to 4 or more. They seem more active and definitely eat better. I would recommend starting with 4 horses and plan for adding others later, as you gain confidence in your skills and your finances allow.  Ocean Rider has a very nice first time buyers special which includes 2 pairs. The way around the feeding issue when stocking sparsely and actually a better way to feed no matter how many horses you have is to target feed your horses with a turkey baster or to use a feeder. Target feeding directs the food basically to right under their snouts. A feeding station concentrates the food in one area where the horses learn to come for their meals. This keeps the food from spreading all over the tank, the horses from having to work to hard to find it and even more importantly keeps uneaten food from getting lost, trapped and decaying in hard to find places. The current issue of the Conscientious Aquarist,   WWM's online magazine has an article on feeding stations which you can view here … http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/v2i5_cover/v2i5_cover.htm> On the other hand, I read your advice on people who have 20-30g sizes with a more manageable number of seahorses. <20 to 30g is a very manageable size,  in terms of the tank size,  water changes and stocking density. My first seahorse tank was a 20g. I out grew it very quickly. These tanks are just not as stable in terms of water parameters as a 55g would be. There is another issue with smaller tanks…..I call it the Just One More Syndrome. It may not be true for everyone but I have found it true for myself, as well as for many others, from the vast number of posts and emails I have read over the years. This hobby is addicting, as are the seahorses, at least in my experience. There is a good chance you will eventually want a bigger tank if you start with a 20 or 30g. Even if you do not want a bigger tank you will probably want just one more seahorse. There are several species currently in breeding programs that will be available for sale at some point and I can tell you from first hand experience they are very tempting, as are seahorse safe tankmates. > So, here come the questions. <Bring um on > Which rule comes first?  Bigger Tank? Smaller and manageable stock-size? <My advice would be to go with the bigger tank.> If I got a 65g going, and stocked 2 pair (4 horses) and other compatible fish would that be ok? Yes, I think it would be just fine. Do see the feeding recommendations discussed above.> I don't think that would address the feeding concerns that the seahorse may not be able to find the food easily enough. <Yes, very true if you just dump the food in the tank and let the current move it all about.  As mentioned above a feeding station or target feeding is actually preferred even in more densely stocked tanks.> Stocking other fish does lower the number of horses to be housed in the tank (the "maximum" or "recommended" numbers per gallon), right? <Yes definitely.> Another question that has been concerning me….  as a responsible owner, how do most deal with the mating/fry issue, realistically?  I don't mean the technicality of rearing the fry, but rather the practical implications.  You can't expect them NOT to mate, right?   <Right.  Although they don't always mate and egg transfers are not always successful.> When they hatch you have to try to take care of them.   <They don't actually hatch they are released from the males pouch and no you do not have to take care of them. I know of many hobbyists who choose not to attempt to rear fry. Believe it or not there are folks who just leave them to fend for themselves, however most are not comfortable with this option.  You do have the option of giving them to another hobbyist who may want the opportunity to attempt their hand at rearing.> Sure, it's difficult, and you may not succeed, even if you were trying hard.  But OK if you DO succeed, and you have more horses than you can handle, what do you do? I don't want to (at least right now, I don't intend to) become a breeder. So, if a few grow up, that's cool.  I might even succumb to getting bigger tanks and more tanks, as space permits.  But there are limits, right?  You can't give them away to people who can't take care of them, so what do most people do?  Is this a realistic concern or do so few survive, that I shouldn't worry about it? <Nope, I don't think the concern is realistic and you should not worry about it. This sort of success rearing is highly unlikely. I have been keeping seahorses and hanging around on the boards for years. There are only a handful of keepers who have been so successful that they have had to worry about what to do with excess seahorses. Most folks manage to rear a few here and there and they are usually so attached to them, that they keep them. Even if the fry were easy to raise and your horses were breeding like bunnies there are environmental factors like photoperiod and temperature that one can adjust to inhabit breeding activity. > Thanks so much, Looking forward to hearing from you, Hiro in NYC. <Your most welcome, Leslie who used to be from NY state .>

Seahorse Sources in UK (9-16-05) Hi,  I live in the UK, Scotland and I am wanting to set up a marine aquarium for seahorses but I can't find anywhere that sells them. Do you know of any breeders in Scotland? Thanx for your help. Sarah <Hi Sarah, I am sorry I have limited knowledge of what is available in the UK. Wild caught seahorses are difficult to come by due to CITES restrictions and actually do not fare well in captivity. I would advise you go with captive bred seahorses. The only aquaculture facility I am aware of in the UK is TMC (Tropical Marine Center) here is a link to their web site http://www.tmc-ltd.co.uk/. I would suggest contacting them and asking for a list of retailers. Best of luck with your search. Hope this helps, Leslie>    

Where to buy captive bred Brazilian seahorses? I have searched everywhere trying to find CB Brazilian seahorses. I have 4 females about 7" tall that I have had for about a year. I want several males in Red, Black, Yellow and Orange. Can you help? The person I got my females from says (?) he doesn't have any males. Please help me out. Your prompt attention will be greatly appreciated. <I'd ask Carol at Ocean Rider re: www.oceanrider.com/ Bob Fenner, who just saw her and one of her twin boys a few days back at Safeway... on Hawai'i's Big Island>

Re: where to buy captive bred Brazilian seahorses? Is there anyone else? Ocean Rider's prices are sky high. I paid much less for the horses I have and they are brilliant in color and very healthy. I just can't get any males. <How many "pieces"/individuals are you looking for? Unless it's quite a few... Where about are you located? You might have your supplier/s contact Millie at All Seas Marine in Miami... Bob Fenner>

Seeking Seahorses 11/27/04 I am looking for 2 (two) male seahorses. 1 red and one orange. I live in Anderson, SC <do use the specialist website seahorse.org for support and information about your options. They have a forum of focused individuals best able to help you I expect. Anthony>

I cant find specific seahorse species hi. my name's Amber and since I was in the 2nd grade I've wanted seahorses. needless to say, I'm a lot older now. but I still want to bring seahorses into my home. I decided that I want a pair of tiger tails, a pair of lined seahorses, and a pair of the Brazilians. I discovered that they are all tropical species, around the same size (between 6 & 8 inches), and would mesh well in a 45 gallon tank. there's only one problem. I'm having trouble location these species online or elsewhere to purchase. I haven't once come across a seahorse in a single pet shop yet. would you happen to know of any sites that sell these specific species? if so I would greatly appreciate your help. thank you so much for your time. <I don't know where to order these species, but do know where I'd ask: OceanRider.com, a breeder of hybrid seahorses in Hawai'i, and http://www.syngnathid.com/ Bob Fenner>

Import question Is there a site, or a book, or a magic wand that gives ins and outs of importing marine species that doesn't take a PHD to understand??? <Mmm, no book or wand... but no need for a doctorate either> I'm trying to find out just what is holding up the importation of seahorses and seeing (since I cant get the cooperation from wholesalers) if its possible to just bypass the middle man and do it myself! <Possible, but expensive and time-consuming... Understand that the same sorts of economic restrictions apply to pet-fish biz as all others... the various governments are there to... control you and I, and pay for their civil servants through "taxes" (permits, fees...)... so, there is red-tape. And there are economies of scale at play as well... the wholesale sources need to sell a good number (usually hundreds) of organisms at a go to make the sale profitable... and the airlines charge much less per unit (volume, weight) in larger, regular shipments... and Customs is going to charge you a minimum fee whether you have one seahorse or thousands...> Can you point me in the right direction?? I've talked to my usual wholesaler, who blames it on Fish & Game. Fish and Game says its all about getting a license from the exporting countries..... <Fish and Game organizations at the state level have nothing to do with this... exporting countries/companies do need to have a few licenses to collect, export... e.g. CITES> .I know there is no easy answer but do you know who I can talk to either A) import myself or B) give the wholesalers a hand in getting it done?? Thanks! Jody Webb Frustrated Seahorse Addict <Do chat these issues over with the folks at syngnathid.com I suspect that the people there have much more pertinent information. Bob Fenner> Where to get seahorses? (03/21/04) Hello there, <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> I know you get a lot of praise for your forum, and I would like to make my addition to that: I love the straight-forward, conservative advice you give. Your helping to keep the aquarium fish of the world alive and happy! <Thanks for your kind words.> I have been searching on here for about an hour now for recommended online seahorse dealers. I recently purchased some "Pixie" (dwarf) seahorses from Ocean Rider.com. I noticed your forum has referenced to this site many times. While I was pleased with their customer service, I must say I was disappointed with the delivery. Both I and my future brother-in-law ordered three horses a piece from them at the same time. Two of mine arrived alive, and only one of his was alive when he received them. <Could be due to the shipper...but difficult to know for certain. When ordering livestock, I always suggest specifying that the shipment be held at the local shippers' office. Then you need not worry about missing the delivery, which often invalidates the vendor's "it gets there alive" guarantee. That also protects the livestock from riding around in a truck for an inordinate period of time.> I found a reference for Inland Aquatics on here as well, and I do plan to order from them fairly soon. I was rather shocked and disappointed when I saw how much they were selling their dwarfs for (9.00, as compared to the 20.00 for OR). I should have done a bit more bargain hunting! My question after this discovery is are there any other online dealers that you would recommend that sell the dwarfs? <For that, head to the seahorse sites and check their reviews -- the biggest two are www.seahorse.org and www.sygnathid.org. Those sites also have listings of people who sell their captive-bred seahorses.> Of course, I am very interested in health/quality and I know you guys (obviously) have a pretty good grasp on who not to recommend out there. <Best to check with those who have ordered from these vendors recently, i.e., people on the sites mentioned above.> Thank you so much for your time (I didn't mean for this to get so long!) Have a great day! ~ Stephanie <You too, and have fun with your horses! --Ananda>

Re: seahorses sources I am looking for a repeatable dealer of Seahorses in this country…….can't seem to find one. Any suggestions? Thank you, Susan <Go to the source of captive-produced: OceanRider (.com). Bob Fenner>

Stocking The Stable! Hi <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 120gal tank i want to set up specifically for seahorses. I currently have a sump with a monster wet /dry to produce nitrate for the 12"x12"x5" depth refugium with algae in it. I also have 5" depth of aragonite/sugars and in layers on the bottom of the tank. I sprinkled 10lbs of Miracle Mud in between the layer of aragonite and sand just because I had it lying around and I thought it might help the plant growth. <I bet that it will!> I plan to plant the main tank with seagrass at the end my sump return is to  disperse the current as it returns to the tank from the sump. <Smart idea!> And then plant a few species of plant that were recommended by my local fish store as good hitching posts for the horses. I'm going to use a ice-cap ballast with 2 95watt 6' tubes one 6500k the other is 10000k. That's my set up so far and I was wondering what kind of flow is required in the tank? I have a few spare pumps I could put in there. and overall if my plans sound good or should I change something before its too late? <Your plan sounds excellent so far. I think that the flow should be minimal (just enough to keep things moving, but not excessive, as you would need in a reef tank). A minor suggestion, if I may: I didn't see you mention a protein skimmer anywhere. Even with a good refugium, I'd still opt for a protein skimmer. It's truly your first line of defense against organic accumulation, and will have a favorable affect on this system. Also, do opt for larger, captive-bred specimens (like Ocean Rider varieties-they are THE best source of seahorses for aquariums, IMO!), maintained in a sufficient population density to assure that they are "close to the food" at all times. Sounds wide, but it's true: In a big tank, with a sparse population, the 'horses will actually have some difficulty finding the food at times! So- make sure that you "stock the stable" appropriately! For more terrific information on seahorses, do check out the Seahorse.org site on the internet, and check out Carol Cozzi-Schmarr's  Oceanrider.com site for great seahorses and information. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Seahorses for Sale Do you have or can you direct me to any information on farm bread and raised seahorses. They are getting quite popular here and several people are quite successful. I would. I have been unable to find any info except on the difficulties of wild caught specimens. I would love to keep them. Suitable tankmates? Thanks  < I have heard only good things about the operation in Hawai'i, www.oceanrider.com  and the livestock they offer. Much higher rates of survival and feeding in these captive bred specimens. Bob Fenner>

Orange Sea Horses Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I saw some orange sea horses at a local dealer. He said they were from Brazil and much easier to keep than the Atlantic Sea Horses. He said they would do excellent in a reef tank, feeding on all the tiny organisms in a reef tank. Any suggestions ? <Yeah, do not completely trust this dealer. You would need a truly huge, old reef tank with few to no other fish to hope to provide enough live food without supplemental feedings to sustain a seahorse. Something like 180 gallons setup up for a year or more. Otherwise, get used to rearing live brine and Mysis shrimp for your wild caught seahorse.> Thanks, Mario
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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